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Everton fringe players' chance

Everton
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By ESPN Staff

Arena's men left with scars and strife

GELSENKIRCHEN, June 12 (Reuters) - U.S. coach Bruce Arena ripped into his players after they were thrashed on the pitch by the Czech Republic on Monday and singled out his key player Landon Donovan for an especially harsh public tongue-lashing.

'Landon showed no aggressiveness,' Arena told a news conference after his team's 3-0 defeat in their World Cup Group E opening match.

'I am very disappointed by the performance of our players over 90 minutes. But give the Czechs credit. They punished us every chance they got.'

Arena had been eager to prove the Americans could beat a top team on European soil after eight years of losses to the continent's elite but he saw those hopes destroyed after unmarked Jan Koller scored five minutes into the match.

'We certainly had a very poor start to the game - to put yourself down a goal after five minutes to a team like the Czech Republic,' he said. 'We were behind the eight-ball from the start.'

Arena blamed his veteran goalkeeper Kasey Keller for 'putting the ball upfield where we have nobody' at the start of the sequence that led to the first goal.

The Czechs then raced back towards Keller, with defender Zdenek Grygera lofting a fine cross to Koller.

'Grygera has an uncontested crossing and Koller is in front of the goal to knock it in,' said Arena. 'It's very disappointing. I can't explain why those things happen.'

Arena also singled out PSV Eindhoven midfielder DaMarcus Beasley - alongside Donovan one of his most important players - for strong criticism.

'We got nothing out of Beasley on the night,' Arena said.

'Not enough players took the initiative. We didn't get too many good performances.'

Although known for his generally blunt style, Arena was in top form as he rattled off his team's failings with refreshing candor.

'A number of players played poorly,' he said. 'Aside from giving up the early goal, second balls were a big part of the game and they won more than their fair share.'

The U.S. next face Italy on June 17 in Kaiserslautern and Ghana on June 22.